There has been a lot of blogging lately about how certain seasonal and comfort foods may temporarily boost your mood. In these posts, we also explored some of the science behinds this and roughly broke down what goes on in your brain to make this happen. From this, we can discern that food undoubtedly has the capability to affect our day to day mood. We already know that the food we ingest is directly related to our physical health. Many times, the foods that nourish our bodies physically, will also nourish our brain functioning. In fact, certain foods actually have the potential to reduce anxiety.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Omega 3 Fatty acids can aid in regulating certain neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine which can have calming effects on the mind and body. In addition, Omega 3 Fatty Acids have been shown to reduce inflammation which can in turn reduce brain cell dysfunction. Omega 3 Fatty Acid consumption may also increase your brain’s ability to adapt to changes, which can aid in your ability to handle stressors that facilitate anxiety. Some foods rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids include:
- Wild salmon
- Chia seeds
Probiotics: Probiotics have the ability to reduce anxiety by working to inhibit the free radicals and neurotoxins that damage nerve tissue in the brain and often lead to anxiety. One study found that individuals who consumed probiotic yogurt on a daily basis were better able to cope with stressors than individuals who consumed yogurt without probiotics on a daily basis. (Elliot, 2017)
Antioxidants: Like the Omega 3 Fatty Acids, antioxidants have the powerful ability to reduce inflammation, which in turn may prevent and/or reduce the brain cell dysfunction that can lead to mental illness. Antioxidants can also serve to boost immunity which can benefit your overall physical health. Some foods high in antioxidants include:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Spinach, Kale
- Chamomile (3 cups of tea per day)
In summary, there are plenty of foods out there that pack a punch against anxiety! As I have mentioned in my previous posts, this is not meant to be a stand-alone treatment for anxiety. Instead, I present some simple ways that you can reduce the anxiety in your life through your diet. If you feel that the anxiety in your life has become unmanageable even throughout diet adjustments and coping skills, please feel free to reach out to us at Olive Branch Counseling Associates Inc. and consult with a professional. There is help available to you. Below, find a recipe that includes all of these anxiety reducing ingredients and more!
Stress Relieving Green Smoothie
2 cups fresh spinach, packed
½ cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt
½ medium avocado, peeled and pitted
1 frozen medium banana
¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground turmeric
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
*feel free to add in some chia seeds to get in those Omega 3 Fatty Acids!
Recipe by: Caroline
Full link to recipe: https://www.tasteloveandnourish.com/2017/01/23/stress-relieving-green-smoothie/
Written By: Hayley Nelson
Intern, Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc.
Elliot, B. (2017, July 9). 6 foods that help reduce anxiety. Retrieved October 31, 2018, from
Stress relieving green smoothie. (2017, January 23). Retrieved October 31, 2018, from